John Birdsall is a two-time James Beard Award-winning author, a former food critic, and longtime restaurant cook. He is the coauthor of a cookbook, Hawker Fare, with James Syhabout. He lives in Tucson.
Birdsall's narrative offers a tangy portrait of the backstabbing world of post-WWII food writing along with vivid, novelistic evocations of Beard's flavor experiences...The result is a rich, entertaining account of an essential tastemaker. It is fitting that John Birdsall should give this impossibly rich tribute to the gay father of modern American food culture, revealing it's not the food but it's the ingredients within that make the cook a legend. Savoir faire, shade, dish, yearning, hunger and creative fire made the great James Beard and this joy of a biography possible and delectable. Indispensable and delectable queer food history at its finest.--Michael W. Twitty, James Beard award-winning author of The Cooking Gene John Birdsall captures the enigmatic Mr. Beard in his well-researched biography, delving deeply into the complex life of the man who forever will be recognized as one of the pioneers of American cooking. A remarkable book about a legend who was held back by the boundaries of the past, but was profoundly ahead of his time in so many other ways.--David Lebovits, author of My Paris Kitchen and Drinking French The author of the groundbreaking article, 'America, Your Food Is So Gay, ' turns a sharp but sympathetic eye on the carefully closeted food writer who celebrated the glories of homegrown ingredients and down-home cooking decades before they were fashionable.... A thoughtful appreciation of a central figure in the story of American food culture.